Monckton cut off in Oz radio row

  • 07 Jul 2011, 14:35
  • Neil

Lord Christopher Monckton , UKIP deputy leader and travelling climate skeptic, ran into yet more controversy this morning during his latest tour of Australia when he was dumped off the air during a heated exchange with ABC Radio's Adam Spencer.

The interview began with Spencer, a mathematician and presenter of several ABC science programmes, challenging Monckton on his claims to be a non-voting member of the House of Lords . Monckton, a hereditary peer, has never been a member of the House (his father was removed from the house along with most other hereditary peers in 1999). He told Spencer he is a member of the upper House "but without the right to sit or vote."

The House of Lords themselves have said:

"Lord Monckton is not and never has been a member of the House of Lords. The clerk of the parliaments has written to Lord Monckton, confirming that he has no association with the House and advising him to stop branding himself as such."

When Spencer quoted the House authorities, Monckton said:

"I am a member of the Lords, as it says on my passport. It says I am the Right Honourable Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. So get used to it."

Spencer then moved on, questioning Monckton on the claim made in a biography hosted by the Monckton-affiliated Science and Public Policy Institute that he is a 'Nobel Peace Laureate' who wears a 'Nobel Prize Pin'. Monckton, sounding riled, replied that a professor at Rochester University had said he deserved a Nobel prize for the changes he had forced to the IPCC report and presented him with the pin that he wears. "That's what we on the centre-right call a joke. That's what you and the ABC on the centre-left wouldn't understand." Monckton said.

Spencer went on:

"There seems to be a consistent pattern, sir, that when you speak publicly and analyse climate science and make pronouncements, and it's my understanding you've never held any academic position at any university or any research institute connected with climate science … when your talks are taken and replayed to the authors ... you quote, they consistently say, 'that's not what I meant, that's not the graph, that's a misrepresentation of what I say.' There's a very famous case where one of your talks was taken and every single person who was quoted came back and said, 'that's not the thrust of what I was saying'."

Monckton hit back at Spencer calling him "deliberately hostile" and "childish", and demanding he provide examples of his misrepresentation of scientists. The two then debated Monckton's scientific claims on CO2 levels, with Monckton at one point telling Spencer: "so you just listen, and shut up."

During the tetchy exchange Monckton refused several times to allow Spencer to move the discussion on: "I'm actually going to try and get a word into this interview now, so you shut up and listen" he said. When Monckton called Spencer "unpleasant" and demanded he "be quiet and just listen", Spencer finally cut him off. He said:

"We will finish the interview there … that's not going anywhere Lord Monckton and you know exactly why that's going nowhere. My apologies for not getting to the questions that we wished to."

But then after complaints from listeners, Spencer apologised:

"My apologies for the method in which I terminated my interview with Lord Monckton there. It felt completely dysfunctional on both sides. In retrospect I should not have hung up on him, I should have tried to get a word in to say I was terminating the conversation as he suggested that I do."

Monckton was brought back on the air for a second round full of false politeness , to be asked about his discussions with Australian politicians, being banned from several speaking venues, his links with the Australian mining industry, about who invited him to speak in the country and who is funding the tour, as well his "lack of economic credentials".

Monckton finished the interview in typically provocative fashion, responding to Spencer's apology: "Please don't conduct interviews like that again, it wasn't very pleasant…" Spencer replied: "It wasn't very pleasant for me or the listeners either, sir."

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